40 WESTT Steakhouse
2305 Transcanada Highway, Pointe Claire (in the Sources Méga Centre)
Web site: http://www.40westt.com
Rating: Three Chef Hats…
Cost: $$$$ expensive
The 40 Westt Steakhouse is no longer West-Island’s best kept secret (as their website states) it has been opened now for over 10 years. Time flies! One thing for sure, it is THE known place to go for those West Islanders who want to celebrate a special occasion, have a lavish dinner in an opulent setting or just to satisfy the need to appease their carnivorous cravings with a hefty price tag.
As a foodie, the steakhouse genre does not usually qualify as my foodie haven. I leave it to those hungry business men with fat cat expense accounts to impress their executive clients by paying exuberant prices for the cost of doing business. Yet a couple of times a year I too crave a two inch thick masterfully marbled aged and grilled cut of beef that is perfectly seasoned , juicy yet medium rare as a way to satisfy my ultimate carnivore.
Many years ago when this establishment was opened by the Morenztos group (from Queue de Cheval fame), this type of restaurant was a rare gem and much needed in the West Island. With its high ceilings and cavernous dining rooms, fancy tableware, floor to ceiling dark wood wine racks, chandeliers and white tablecloths, it was the ideal hotspot for the rich and famous of the West Island. Making it exceptionally different was its unique offerings of a raw oyster bar and live jazz. Compounded with an exceptional refined table service, décor, a large array of dry aged beef ,a round about ice counter displaying a huge exhibition of gigantic crab legs, lobster, shellfish and fresh fish made this place the place to go and to be seen for the last decade. A status quo symbol that you had finally made it among the elite and had the money to wine and dine in this opulent palace.
This was the exact sentiment I felt when entering the lavish steakhouse on Friday night. It had been 5 years since I had last stepped into the bar for drinks and appetizers while waiting for a friend who was here celebrating her company’s annual Christmas party. I remembered the humongous shrimp cocktail at $ 23.00, elegant silver platters of oysters on a bed of salted ice and gigantesque salad platters that whizzed by me all while listening to the swooning of a smooth live jazz band playing in the background. Everything seemed as I had remembered except it was very quiet tonight.
We were greeted by a tall “beautiful people” type hostess in a sexy low cut black dress and 5 inch red stiletto heels, who took our coats and disappeared to the coat room. Upon her return she asked what area of the restaurant we wanted to sit in. I chose the dining room as I had already been in the bar area and wanted to get the maximum effect and experience this time around. I was also very curious to see the main dining room which is a much larger room and bigger than the bar area with its open kitchen and ceiling high flames giving the aura you have arrived in the devils den.
So we followed her beyond the cavernous arch pass the fish market counters piled high with seafood and large window displays of beef briskets to a soft lit room with waiters busily milling around providing attentive care. Nothing short of very regal and not at all disappointing, I thought.
We sat in large booth too big for two people against the windows and were given our menus. The menu includes hot & cold appetizers, a large steak section, a catch-of-the-day section, chef recommendations, side dishes and, on top of all that, a table d’hôte and a raw bar.
From the appetizers, I chose Tuna Tartar Classic and Aliki’s authentic village Greek Salad. For the main course we ordered Filet Mignon Brule with mashed and baked potato and two glasses of Jacobs Creek Shiraz.
40 Westt boasts that it serves the” finest corn-fed Ontario beef – Belvedere brand aged between 28-35 days, dry-aged in their meat lockers”, so we definitely had to try the meat, but at $58.00 plus per steak, not being that hungry and with side orders charged separately to boot we knew we were going to be in for a pricey tab at the end of the meal. But if you don’t bat an eye at these types of prices than fire away to your hearts delight. Order the 20-oz “Cowboy” rib steak or the 32 oz Tomahawk or the even $350.00 tasting platter. Prices here are high and like real steakhouse style, main courses are only served with a choice of potato. As for the potatoes, the baked potato was fluffy and served with butter only, no big mounds of sour cream and chives, the garlic mashed were utterly delectable.
The 8oz filet mignon, was wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma and topped with Brie cheese. Making it super tender with a mix of saltiness from the ham and flavourful kick from the brie, a rarity for this cut as they are usually too dry. The little jus or port sauce gravy surrounding the base of the dish also added a finishing touch and accompanied the puree of velvet mashed potatoes divinely.
Our Greek Salad was enough for two people but was a disappointingly soggy and not at all what I had remembered from the last time. Missing were the big chunks of lettuce or green peppers, the tomatoes looked like they had been sitting in oil and vinegar for a while and were lacking a crunch of freshness. My tuna tartar was tasty but not exceptional, nicely garnished with dry rusk but I hardly tasted the avocado or the infusion of sesame oil. It was more drowning in tomato relish when it should have been topped with fresh tomato type salsa.
The service was faultless, our French waitress with her Parisian accent was delightful and attentive she made us feel special and even suggested that tuna tartar was not a big portion. But it was suffice to say. She did not bat an eye when we ordered wine by the glass and did not pressure us to purchase wine by the bottle at the hefty prices.
The biggest disappointment once the rose colored glasses came off was to see the type of clientele that now frequents this fine dining establishment. Not visible this evenings were the local business executives that once permeate this place during the lunch time crowd. Instead it was replaced by a few tables of families, couples and seedy looking men trying to make passes at you when you are accompanied by a gentleman. It proved annoying and uncomfortable to avoid eye contact for the duration of the meal. Another thing that side tracked me was the manner in which people were dressed. Going to such a fancy place wearing blue jeans, leather jackets or joggers actually tells me a lot about them or the place. What was fancy and opulent once probably no longer is or is considered as.
Since it heyday 40 Westt has changed ownership, now owned and run by George Grigoropoulos & Chef Stefano Hinoporos. It has added a slew of sister restaurants like Towne Hall, 40 north and Towne380 in Laval and Moe’s to their repertoire. Each as opulent and fitting the same Modus Operandi with same price tag. Famous Steakhouse prices are high, this one is comparative, better have the cash or you will be washing lots of dishes!
Nonetheless, once in a while it is worth the splurge especially for a very special occasion and especially when you are not paying. My motto, you always have to try a place once or even twice, be adventurous and not afraid, you may discover a different world from your own and actually have a good time in the land of the sometimes unattainable.